Despite a cooling trend arriving by the weekend, our very strong El Nino persists and strengthens. This past week, the warmth in its key/most important region went up again. This El Nino is now one of the three strongest El Ninos going back to 1950, when more reliable records began. Taken by itself, that makes milder than average temperatures more likely to prevail in the mean across the northern tier of most of the U.S. (not every day, but “in the mean.”). While El Nino is expected to begin weakening during mid or late winter in the more than 2 dozen models which predict its phase, the significant weakening remains a long way off. In fact, the NWS’ Climate Prediction Center remains confident that El Nino will remain at what we call “Strong” criteria for most of the winter. However, the amplitude of its strength is still likely to begin weakening during the latter half of winter. Should that weakening start to proceed faster than expected, the character of our winter trend and pattern may shift to a more active and colder pattern at that time. There is high uncertainty on the speed of that future weakening. Should the weakening drag its feet, we would have a greater chance of a milder winter for most of the winter, rather than in just the first couple of months of the cold weather season.
In any case, the cooler pattern developing for Friday into Monday is not connected with any such weakening. There can be breakdowns in the influence of El Nino when other oscillating factors begin changing their phases and flexing their atmospheric muscles. As of this posting, the Thanksgiving Holiday does not look likely to be cold. Temperatures are more likely to be seasonable (mid 40s) or even a little above average at the start of the holiday. We’ll keep you updated. More in my first comment below, of a somewhat more technical nature.
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